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John Lewis predicts UK's first 'mobile Christmas'

By Retail Technology | Tuesday October 22 2013

Department store retailer echoes recent reports that m-commerce has reached a tipping point and responds with launch of new transactional iPad app

John Lewis predicts that this year will be the UK’s first ‘mobile Christmas,’ with traffic from mobile phones and tablets overtaking that from desktops for the first time on Christmas Day itself. 

The retailer reported that mobile made up almost 50% of all traffic to on 25 December 2012 and the retailer expects that mobile will overtake desktop traffic at 5pm on Christmas Day this year. The prediction coincides with the launch of John Lewis’s new transactional iPad app.

M-commerce popularity builds
Echoing recent online shopping sales figures, which found visits via mobile outstripping those from traditional PCs and laptops, Mark Lewis, John Lewis online director, said that mobile is set to be the “shining star” of Christmas 2013. 

“Shopping is becoming much more of a social experience with people browsing, purchasing and sharing ideas with others using their mobile phones and tablets,” Lewis said. “We expect this to increase dramatically during the festive period as customers shop on the go and we anticipate that Christmas Day will be the tipping point for mobile.”
John Lewis also said its busiest day last year as far as mobile traffic was concerned was 26 December, with over 920,000 visits. Over 1 million visits are estimated for this Boxing Day, which will be a new record for mobile. Mobile now also accounts for over 40% per cent of traffic to and traffic is up over 115% year on year.

Capitalising on channel growth

This year, John Lewis is hoping to boost this increase in traffic with a new transactional iPad app, which will bring rich content from the retailer’s magazine and catalogues to the shopping environment. John Lewis’s iPhone app also relaunched this autumn and allows customers to check its ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ commitment and read ratings and reviews. This new technology also supports the retailer’s introduction of free Wi-Fi to registered customer in all its shops to make it easier for them to browse the web.

Lewis continued: "Although customers are more likely to shop for lower value items on mobile devices, there are a significant proportion of customers purchasing big-ticket items. In fact the most expensive item we’ve sold on the mobile site was a £7,000 television.”

Fashion in particular has seen a significant increase in customers shopping via their mobiles, according to the retailer, with 78% of total sales in the category now completed on a mobile device. And the busiest time for mobile traffic is 10pm.

Lewis added: “We know that our customers shop using many channels and, over the last 12 months, we have seen a significant increase in sales via mobile devices. Our aim is to create a seamless shopping experience for customers, whether that is in-store, online or mobile and our iPad app fits with our leading omnichannel strategy.”

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